American Football Database
Randy Shannon
File:Randy Shannon 70723.jpg
Sport(s)American football
Current position
TitleLinebackers Coach
TeamArkansas Razorbacks
Annual salary275,000
Biographical details
Born (1966-02-24) February 24, 1966 (age 56)
Miami, Florida
Playing career
Miami (FL)
Dallas Cowboys
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Miami (GA)
Miami (DL)
Miami (LB)
Miami Dolphins (assistant)
Miami Dolphins (LB)
Miami (DC)
Miami (DC/LB)
Arkansas (LB)
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
Broyles Award (2001)

Randy Lennard Shannon (born February 24, 1966) is an American football coach, currently the linebackers coach at Arkansas. He previously served as the head football coach at the University of Miami from 2007 to 2010, the defensive coordinator at Miami from 2001 to 2006,[1] as well as most recently the linebackers coach at TCU. In the 1980s Shannon played linebacker at Miami and then with the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL.

Early life

When Shannon was three years old, his father was murdered. His older twin brothers, who became addicted to crack cocaine when Shannon was 10, both died of aids, as did his older sister.[2] Shannon attended Miami Norland High School, where he earned all-state for playing football at the position of linebacker in his senior year. He also excelled at basketball, averaging 19 points a game, and was a member of the track and field team.[3]

He played college football for the University of Miami, starting at outside linebacker for the 1987 national championship team. After graduating in 1988, Shannon played briefly as a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, having been drafted by Jimmy Johnson "in order to teach his bigger, faster linebackers how to play the position."[4]

Coaching career

Early years

Shannon was first hired by Miami coach Dennis Erickson in 1991 to be a graduate assistant. He later became the team's defensive line coach and linebackers coach. Shannon worked as linebackers coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2000 and as a defensive assistant in 1998 and 1999.

In 2001, Miami coach Larry Coker hired Shannon to be the defensive coordinator. That year Miami won the National Championship and Shannon received the Broyles Award given annually to the best assistant coach in college football. The 2001 national championship team is widely considered to be one of the greatest college football teams of all time. Over the next five years Shannon's Miami defenses consistently finished among the top in the nation.

During Shannon's six years as UM's defensive coordinator, his defenses ranked as follows in total defense nationally:

University of Miami head coach

Shannon was officially introduced as the head coach of Miami on December 8, 2006, replacing Larry Coker in the position. Shannon reportedly agreed to a four-year deal worth over $4 million. He was the sixth black head coach at the time in Division I-A NCAA football, the others being Sylvester Croom (Mississippi State), Karl Dorrell (UCLA), Tyrone Willingham (Washington), Ron Prince (KSU), and Turner Gill (Buffalo). Coker stayed on to coach the team to a 21–20 MPC Computers Bowl victory over the University of Nevada; Shannon assumed all other functions, including recruiting, immediately upon his hiring.[5]

2007 season

Shannon's first decision as head coach was to remove the players' surnames from their jerseys. Fans found the decision made the game more difficult to follow.[6]

The season opened with a victory over Marshall in his first game as head coach. The second game was a 51–13 loss to #6 University of Oklahoma. Miami rebounded by defeating Florida International, Duke, and then-16th ranked Texas A&M, but then lost close games to unranked North Carolina, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State. One highlight was Miami's fourth quarter comeback against rival Florida State. However, this was offset by a 48–0 loss against #21 University of Virginia in the team's final appearance ever at the Orange Bowl, the worst loss for the program in the history of its play at the Orange Bowl and the worst overall loss since 1998. Miami finished the season losing to #16 Boston College 28–14. Under Shannon, the team lost 6 out of their last 7 games, finishing with a losing record and failing to qualify for a bowl game for the first time in over a decade.[7]

Two days after the season ended, one of Miami's former players, Sean Taylor, was shot in his home in Miami. Shannon expressed frustration over the media's handling of such incidents, stating that the coverage made it appear as though the University of Miami is a haven for crime.[8]

2008 season

Shannon's squad finished the 2008 season with a 7–6 record (4-4 ACC) and a loss to Cal in the Emerald Bowl. The regular season was highlighted by losses to eventual National Champion Florida and rival Florida State, and a surprising victory over eventual ACC Champion Virginia Tech. The 'Canes briefly returned to the Top 25 rankings for the first time since early in the 2006 season before surrendering 472 rushing yards to Georgia Tech in a 41–23 late-November loss that eliminated Miami from ACC Championship contention.[9] Tech's 472 yards on the ground were the second most ever allowed by Miami.[9] Miami then received an invitation to the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco, where the Hurricanes fell 24–17 to Cal.

Off-season turmoil

In the immediate aftermath of the bowl game, Shannon fired his offensive coordinator, Patrick Nix, over philosophical differences. Nix wanted to employ more of a spread attack, whereas Shannon remained committed to Miami's traditional pro style offense. Shannon eventually hired former Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles assistant coach Mark Whipple for the position.

Nix's departure was followed by news that Robert Marve, a redshirt-freshman quarterback who had been suspended from the bowl game for repeatedly missing class, asked for a release to transfer to another school.[10] Marve cited a strained relationship with Shannon, who had previously suspended him after his arrest for criminal mischief, as his reason for leaving.[11] Marve was the only Hurricanes player to be arrested during Shannon's tenure as head coach.[12]

Shannon's staff suffered more upheaval when defensive coordinator Bill Young left to assume the same position at Oklahoma State, his alma mater, in late January. Young's departure made him the third coordinator to leave the program during Shannon's two seasons as head coach, joining Nix and former defensive coordinator Tim Walton, both of whom were fired. North Carolina assistant John Lovett was hired to replace Young in February.[13]

2009 season

Randy Shannon's Hurricanes showed improvement in the 2009 season, in which the Canes finished with a record of 9–4. The Canes were the first college football team in 9 years to face four consecutive ranked teams to start the season.[14] They surpassed expectations by going 3-1 in those games, including wins over #19 Florida State, #13 Georgia Tech, and #8 Oklahoma. The Hurricanes went 6-2 over the remainder of the regular season, then lost 20-14 against #22 Wisconsin in the Citrus Bowl. Miami finished the season ranked #19 in the country. It marked the second consecutive year that Shannon's team had shown a 2-win improvement.


Though Shannon's teams went through some struggles on the field, he consistently brought in recruiting classes ranked in the top 25.[15][16][17] Three members of his second recruiting class—Marcus Forston, Marcus Robinson, and Sean Spence—were recognized by College Football News as freshman All-Americans.[18]

2010 season

The Hurricanes started the year with high expectations, ranked 13th in the Associated Press and Coaches Poll. However, after winning three of their first four games, they were beaten at home by #24 Florida State, 45–17. They went 4-3 over the rest of the regular season, with losses to Virginia, #15 Virginia Tech and South Florida. Though they were ranked in the top-25 until the final two games of the season, the season-ending loss to South Florida left them unranked heading into the Sun Bowl.


After the South Florida loss, the university announced its decision to terminate Shannon immediately.[19] On December 13, 2010, the University of Miami announced the hiring of his replacement, former Temple University head coach Al Golden.[20]

Texas Christian University

In July 2012 Randy Shannon became the linebackers coach at TCU. Shannon participated in his first game as a member of the TCU coaching staff on September 8, 2012, a 56-0 victory over Grambling. As of October 2, TCU was undefeated and ranked 2nd in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 7.3 points per game. They also rank 2nd in passing efficiency defense, 2nd in interceptions, 9th in rushing defense, and 7th in total yards allowed per game.[21]

Off the field

Although he left Miami with an unremarkable win-loss record by the program's previous standards, Shannon still left a significant legacy at the program. He guided the school to the third-best Academic Progress Rate in NCAA Division I FBS. In his four-year tenure at Miami, only a single player was arrested. Perhaps most significantly, he was apparently untainted by the scandal that engulfed the program in the 2011 season, as he avoided contact with Nevin Shapiro, the rogue booster who admitted to providing massive amounts of improper benefits to Miami players from 2002 to 2010. Sports Illustrated writer Alexander Wolff, in an August 2011 open letter to university president Donna Shalala, noted that Shannon "seems to have been the only person in Coral Gables who wanted nothing to do with Shapiro, reportedly warning his players to avoid him and threatening to fire assistants caught dealing with him."[22]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Miami Hurricanes (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2007–2010)
2007 Miami 5–7 2–6 5th (Coastal)
2008 Miami 7–6 4–4 T–3rd (Coastal) L Emerald
2009 Miami 9–4 5–3 3rd (Coastal) L Champs Sports 19 19
2010 Miami 7–5 5–3 2nd (Coastal) Sun*
Miami: 28–22 16–16 *Shannon was fired from Miami before bowl game.
Total: 28–22
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


  1. Susan Maller Degnan et al. (2006-12-07). "UM chooses Shannon as head football coach". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2006-12-07.
  2. Hyde, David (September 23, 2009). "Miami coach Randy Shannon brings real life experience to Hurricanes". CNN. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
  3. "Randy Shannon: Profile". Archived from the original on August 27, 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  4. Smith, Gary (September 4, 2007). "Hiding in Plain Sight". CNNSI. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
  5. The Associated Press, Mark Schlabach & Joe Schad (2006-12-07). "Defensive coordinator Shannon new Miami Coach". Retrieved 2006-12-07.
  6. "A No Name Offense and Defense," The Miami Herald, July 24, 2007, page 3D.
  7. "Shannon, 'Canes seeking quick turnaround".
  8. "Shannon exclusive (part I)". Miami Herald. 2007-11-28. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Georgia Tech racks up 473 rushing yards, dampers No. 23 Miami's ACC title hopes". November 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  10. Joey Johnston (Dec. 31, 2008). "Drama-Filled Marve Saga at UM Comes to End'". Tampa Tribune. Retrieved Dec. 31, 2008.
  11. "Marve granted release from Hurricanes scholarship". ESPN. December 30, 2008.
  12. Murphy, Austin (September 22, 2010). "Shannon leading Miami through renaissance on and off the field". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  13. "Canes choose Lovett as D.C.". CNN. February 9, 2009.
  14. "Miami begins season with four tough games". 2009-08-25. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
  15. 2007 Team Ranking.
  16. "Miami claims top 2008 recruiting class – insider – ESPN". 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  17. " Football Recruiting". 2009-12-05. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  18. Cirminiello, Richard (December 11, 2008), "2008 CFN All-Freshman Defensive Team", College Football News,
  19. "Miami fires coach Randy Shannon",, November 27, 2010,
  20. "A Golden Moment for Miami Hurricanes' program," The Miami Herald, December 14, 2010[dead link]
  21. "NCAA FBS Stats". Sports Illustrated. 2012-10-02. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  22. Wolff, Alexander (August 29, 2011). "16 Years Later, It's Time To Get Real". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 28, 2012.

External links